Recycling has numerous positive benefits for people and the environment. It reduces landfill waste, creates jobs, saves money, and conserves natural resources. Take this quiz and see how much you know about recycling.
1. The first major recycling center in America opened in:
Answer: A — In 1896, the Benedetto family of New York City began the first major recycling center in the U.S. Recyclable materials such as newspaper, rags, and trash were collected with a pushcart.
2. On average, how many pounds of paper does one person use in a year?
Answer: C — One person typically uses 360 pounds of paper every year. Each individual uses the equivalent of one 100-foot-tall Douglas fir tree in paper and wood products annually.
3. Approximately how many curbside recycling programs are there in the U.S.?
Answer: D — Just twenty years ago, there was only one curbside recycling program available in the U.S., but today there are over 8,500. It is estimated that 75% of the trash thrown away by Americans could be recycled.
4. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to power:
A. a 100-watt light bulb for 20 hours
B. a television for 2 hours
C. a computer for 3 hours
D. Any of the above
Answer: D — Recycling just one aluminum can saves enough energy to power either one 100-watt light bulb for 20 hours, a TV set for 2 hours, or a computer for 3 hours. Each year, 36 billion aluminum cans are dumped in landfills. This scrap metal has a value of more than $600 million.
5. Glass can be recycled:
B. 100 times
C. Five times
D. Only once
Answer: A — Glass can be recycled forever. Every two weeks in the U.S., the amount of glass bottles and jars that are thrown away would fill both 1,360-foot towers of the former World Trade Center.
6. Each year, the recycling of steel saves enough energy to supply Los Angeles with electricity for how long?
A. One month
B. One year
C. Five years
D. Ten years
Answer: D — Los Angeles could be supplied with electricity for ten years with the amount of energy that is saved in one year through the recycling of steel. Enough steel and iron is thrown away to continuously supply all the automobile manufacturers in the country. Recycling of metals reduces mining waste and conserves natural resources.
7. Polystyrene (more commonly known as Styrofoam) is recyclable.
B. Sometimes true
Answer: B — While some polystyrene is recycled, is very difficult and expensive to do so, so it normally ends up in landfills. Each year, Americans throw away 25 billion polystyrene cups.
8. How many trees could be saved each year if 100,000 people stopped their junk mail?
Answer: C — Approximately 150,000 trees could be saved if 100,000 people stopped their junk mail. If one million people stopped their junk mail, up to one and a half million trees could be spared. Not to mention all the time that would be saved since the average person spends eight months of his or her life opening junk mail.
9. One gallon of improperly disposed of motor oil can contaminate:
A. 100 gallons of water
B. 1,000 gallons of water
C. 100,000 gallons of water
D. 1 million gallons of water
Answer: D — One gallon of motor oil can contaminate 1 million gallons of water. Recycling motor oil prevents the contamination of our ground water and waterways.
10. How many tons of used electronics such as computers and televisions are thrown away each year?
C. 2 million
D. 4 million
Answer: C — Each year, 2 million tons of electronics are thrown away. Each computer monitor or television set contains 4 to 8 pounds of lead. When TVs and computers are thrown into landfills and crushed, lead is released into the environment, creating a hazardous situation for present and future generations.